I recorded some jam tracks and tried improving for the first time, and God do I SUCK! What are some things I can work on to get me better at improving?
you've gotta put rests in your solos. Its like a sentence if you dont take a rest then the audience has no time to breathe and its just one huge run on sentence...yuck. So play 5 or 6 notes and then a rest. be sure to use pull offs and hammer ons. maybe throw some whammy bar stuff. Be sure not to just go up and down the scale.
1: Learn scales
2: Feel the music

That's really all you need to improv well. Sounds like I'm oversimplifying, but it's really that easy.
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Well, do you know your basic scales? (Minor pentatonic is the minimum needed for most improvising)

If you do, then there are alot of ways to improve.

1. watch LOTS of guitar players play solos. Some people have this uncanny ability to simply learn something by seeing someone else do it. Personally I find this one the most fun because you learn of neat little tricks from it.

2. Listen to alot of music in the genre you're generally improvising over, and also listen to some guitarists that are in genres that are totally different from your own (maybe some Al Di Meola or Santana if you're a rocker).

3. Listen to music played with instruments other than guitar (like sax, voice, oboe etc.) and try to kinda get that feeling out of your instrument.

4. Slow it down. You'd be surprised how many guitarists lose sight of making music and become speed/flash junkies.

5. Learn the theory behind what you're playing. Scale degrees are a good place to start.

6. Incorporate all the articulations and techniques you know, and you'll find that you'll start creating awesome little lines. Try adding a slide, bend, trill, or even four finger double-handed tapping if you're so inclined.

7. Mess around alot and have fun! This is how I started improvising (check out the "shredding" track I have by following the link in my sig, and compare that to "What a Mesh". You'll notice a BIG difference in the playing. This is how my improvising improved by using all the steps I've written above.)
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I know all the scales and stuff, but I just couldn't make the music flow I guess. I can make stuff up pretty good when I sit down and make it up note by note, but when just trying to improv it's terrible. Like, I'd make up a really cool sounding bluesy lick, but It would come while playing on a heavy metal rhythm track, or vica versa.

Thanks for the tips though, I'll be sure to check out some of my heroes soloing and see if I can pick anything up.

By the way, I liked your music site, and there was a pretty big difference in the first track and the What a Mesh track- the first one was a bunch of notes, the last one was great, and really flowed. Guess it really does just get better with time.
Last edited by CowboyUp at May 22, 2006,
Yeah I have that problem alot.

That and the fact that I go through phases where I'm obsessed with some random technique and that makes my improvising sound like random wankage.

Got alot of tapping tracks recorded...damn long phase.
Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you
Just spend more time improvising and aiming for different styles - I know a guitarist who's fantastic at improvising but can only do the blues.
Learn the modes if you're out of ideas. You'll get a lot more different sounding licks from applying them over any scale.

at my dmusic site I recorded a simple blues backing track and then another
using that track with a simple solo. The solo uses ONLY the pentatonic minor
in the first position (key of A). Before you go off cramming modes, new scales, etc
into your head, you should realize that there's a TON of things you can do with
just 1 position of the pentatonic scale. I think more than anything else you need
to learn the standard idioms of improv and how to put some feeling into a "scale".
i have been doing nothing but blues improv for about a year, and hell do i love it! You tend to find that you always use the same patterns though so recently iv started learning modes and it is amazing what i can do now! Who would have thought that they would fit in blues! Also dont just say "Right i am going to improvise the the Gm7 scale etc etc" what you need to do is to learn that scale and then incorporate the notes into your major/minor and pentatonics! you will find you know the fretboard by heart! its great!

so my freind GO FORTH AND ROCK!
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